In the world of telecommunications there are always new and developing technologies to understand and implement. With the rise of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems and adaption of traditional systems, Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) is one of the most up-to-date communications systems.
As expert telecommunication providers, we at PureComms have put together this guide to CTI, including what it is, how it works, and the benefits it provides.
If you are looking for the best telephone system for your business, follow these top tips.
What is CTI?
CTI stands for Computer Telephony Integrations which describes the interconnection of communication across devices, prominently computers and telephones. Previously calls have been restricted to telephones, however through CTI, the same functions are available on computers too.
As computers can now have the relevant functionality, businesses now do not even need physical phones to maintain communications. Calls can be performed via computers with staff using headsets, or through Private Bank Exchange (PBX).
How does CTI work?
CTI works using the same principles as VoIP, whereby signals are converted, transported, and reverted for the listener.
In a simple process:
- Analogue signals (caller talking) are converted to digital signals
- Internet Protocol (IP) packages containing the digital signals are sent over the internet
- The digital signals are converted back to analogue signals for receiver to hear via phone/computer
CTI requires a stable internet connection to work effectively, however, even if the signal is weak, callers can leave voicemails.
Functions of CTI
Although calls are performed using computers, none of the regular functions are lost. Callers can still hold calls, mute, send to voicemail etc.
With CTI there are added functions, such as call recording, rerouting and queueing. Aspects of functionality can be adjusted according to application, often with associated CRM platforms or databases integrated for staff ease.
Notable functions include:
- Screen pop – Caller information pops up on screen to provide receiver with description of caller including name, job title and previous calls or issues.
- Automated dialling – Staff can click to dial instead of spending precious time typing numbers for each call.
- Phone controls – CTI keeps all the central functions of regular phones.
- Call routing – Calls can be routed to specific departments or experts for maximum customer satisfaction.
Who uses CTI?
CTI is mainly applied in call centres and sales or customer service departments, where there is a high volume of calls constantly as well as pressure to provide good customer experience.
As staff are immediately given caller information, including history of calls and issues, as well as integrated access to relevant data, staff can confidently and quickly solve customer problems. Also, as calls can easily be rerouted, customers talk to the experts/department that will most benefit them.
Benefits of CTI
Generally, the functionality of CTI is the main benefit, enabling staff to perform more calls with higher customer satisfaction and reduced waiting times. Overall, customers, staff and managers benefit from CTI and its functions.
Reduced need for infrastructure
As calls can be performed solely from computers – without the need for physical phones – businesses can reduce infrastructure spending on phones. Additionally, maintenance or upgrading of on-premise phones can be costly, and therefore avoiding use further reduces expenditure.
If a business has no existing communications infrastructure, or is seeking a more progressive approach, CTI provides a contemporary cost-effective solution.
Customer as well as co-worker relations improve with CTI. The screen pop of caller information means that staff can give a friendly, personalised greeting, additional to an understanding of previous calls and issues.
Inter-office relationships improve as co-workers can easily communicate with each other, for example when getting advice for a customer issue or briefing a co-worker in on an issue before routing the call. Video and conference calls are similarly simple to preform using CTI.
As data is instantaneously presented to staff upon receiving a call, staff do not need to waste time sifting through databases or switching screens to locate vital information. Other CTI functionalities also help to reduce wasted time, such as one-click-dialling, instant note-taking on caller screen pop, and efficient rerouting system.
CTI allows for real-time call reporting and automatic call logging, ensuring all calls are logged correctly, every time. This reduces the risk of staff forgetting or making a mistake.
Call reporting provides data-driven insights for manager and personal review, including call times and length. Managers may use this for evaluation, training, or overall insight. Similarly, CTI systems often record calls in order for review or training purposes.
Reporting helps to improve customer satisfaction too, by providing a basis from which managers and staff can understand successful calls.
Through automatic rerouting, call queuing and heightened call control through CTI, customers receive a seamless experience. Instead of waiting for staff to pick up, or experiencing lengthy call rerouting, customers have their issues solved quickly.
Due to the screen pop providing call handlers with relevant information and call history, customers are not expected to rehash previous issues, simply leaving the staff to find a solution with appropriate expertise.
Get Started with PureComms
If you are looking to improve your business communications systems or make your customer service more efficient, get in touch with PureComms. We offer a range of solutions to fit a variety of needs as well as provide expert consultancy and 24/7 support. By working with you to keep your telecoms working at their best, we help your business grow.